Daniel’s Great Vision Prophecy
In our last post we saw how Satan tried to prevent Daniel from receiving this prophecy. Satan feared the saints knowing these details. We also saw how this final prophecy of Daniel answered all of Daniel’s questions regarding the three previous prophecies he received in Dan. 7, 8, and 9.
In this post we’ll take an overview of the prophecy and answer the questions whether it’s a future prophecy or has it already been fulfilled? We will also look at the details of the prophecy in regard to it’s basic organization.
Past, Future, or Both
A huge question that has plagued Bible scholars for centuries is whether this prophecy relates to the past or to the future. Those claiming that this prophecy relates only to the ancient Persian and Greek Empires point to the verse by verse precision of the fulfillment of Daniel 11: 1-35.
|Dan. 11||Historical Personage||Historic Event|
|v. 1||Darius the Mede||Reigned in Babylon 538 – 537 BC|
|v. 2||Cambyses II||First Persian King to reign after Cyrus the Great. His reign was (530-522 BC)|
|Gaumata the Magian||Second Persian King (522 BC)|
|Darius the Great||Third Persian King (522-486 BC)|
|Xerxes||Fourth Persian King went to war with Greek city states with an army of 2M to punish Greece for the Ionian Rebellion|
|v.3||Alexander the Great||The mighty king who defeated the Persian Darius III and conquered and ruled an empire that stretched from southern Europe to north Africa to central Asia.|
|v.4||Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus I, Ptolemy I||Alexander abruptly died and a power struggle ensued. His empire was divided into four major portions by 301 BCE: (1) Cassander ruled over Greece, (2) Lysimachus ruled in Asia Minor, (3) Seleucus I Nicator ruled in Babylon and Persia, and (4) Ptolemy I Soter ruled over the Holy Land and Egypt|
|v.5||Ptolemy I, Seleucus I||Ptolemy is the King of the South and Seleucus was one of his generals who eventually exceeded him.|
|v.6||Ptolemy II, Antiochus II, Bernice||In 249 BC, The King of the South (Ptolemy II) gave his daughter Berenice to King of the North (Antiochus II). His plan was to stop the war that was and unite the two kingdoms through their marriage. After Ptolemy II died, Antiochus II nullifed his marriage to Berenice and had her and their infant son murdered. Antiochus II was then poisoned. Ptolemy II, his daughter Berenice, and Antiochus II all lost in their struggle for power.|
|vv. 7-9||Ptolemy III, Seleucus II||Berenice’s brother Ptolemy III was angered by her murder, and invaded the Seleucid Empire, defeated them, and carried back to Egypt their statues captured 100 years earlier. Seleucus II attempted to retaliate but was rebuffed and had to return to Syria.|
|vv.10-12||Seleucus III, Antiochus III, Ptolemy IV||The sons of Seleucus II (Seleucus III and Antiochus III) attacked Egypt but Ptolemy IV counterattacked and Antiochus III was forced to withdraw, but Ptolemy IV did not overcome him|
|vv.13-16||Antiochus III, Scopas||After the death of Ptolemy IV, Antiochus III attacked again with the help of the Greeks and Jews. After the defeat of Scopas at Sidon (the fortified city), the Holy Land passed into Syrian possession for good.|
|v.17||Antiochus III, Ptolemy V, Cleopatra I||Antiochus III gave his daughter in marriage to Ptolemy V, but her allegiance was to her husband, and Antiochus III’s plan to use her to assume power in Egypt failed.|
|vv.18-19||Antiochus III||Antiochus III attempted to invade Greece but the Romans came to their assistance and Antiochus III was defeated. In an attempt to pay his war debt, Antiochus III tried to rob a Babylonian temple and was murdered in the process|
|vv. 20-21||Seleucus IV, Antiochus IV||Seleucus IV heavily taxed his people to pay the war debt. After this he was poisoned. Seleucus’ heir to the throne was a prisoner in Rome, so Seleucus IV’s brother Antiochus IV assumed the throne with the help of the King of Pergamum.|
|vv. 22-24||Antiochus IV, Ptolemy VI||Antiochus attempted to win Egypt with a novel plan. He entered the nation with only a small force and paid for support among the people by sharing in the spoils of war|
|vv. 25-27||Antiochus IV, Ptolemy VI. Ptolemy VII||Antiochus now entered Egypt with a large army and defeated the even larger Egyptian army thru intrigue. He set up Ptolemy VI’s brother Ptolemy VII up as a ruler in Alexandria. Antiochus and Ptolemy VI has numerous conferences at this point in which they both acted deceptively.|
|v. 28||Antiochus IV, Jason||A rumor that Antiochus IV had died led to a Jewish revolt by Jason. Antiochus returned to Israel killing between 40,000 to 80,000 Jews|
|vv. 29-31||Antiochus IV, Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VII||Antiochus would again attack Egypt but Ptolemy VI and VII would align with Rome. The Romans would force Antiochus to withdraw in disgrace. Upon withdrawing, Antiochus IV would take out his rage on Jerusalem and defile the Temple|
|vv. 32-34||Antiochus IV, Maccabees||Antiochus IV made possessing the Torah a crime and thousands of Jews were persecuted and killed. The Maccabees rose up in revolt.|
|vv. 35||After their defeat of Antiochus, Jews in surrounding countries were persecuted.|
Historic Fulfillment of Dan. 11:1-35[i]
Because of the precision of the fulfillment of this section of the prophecy, many choose to believe that this section only applied to the ancient past.
Those with liberal theology have taken this a step further. They have proposed that the Book of Daniel is a second century BC forgery. Their position is that the fulfillment of these scriptures is so precise that it couldn’t be prophecy, it had to have been a forgery written after the historic events occurred.
This challenge to this portion of Daniel is of incredible importance because within these prophetic verses (Dan. 11:31) is a reference to the Abomination of Desolation. Jesus himself refers to this verse in the Olivet Discourse:
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . . (Matt. 24: 15 NASB)
Could Jesus be referring to a forgery? Obviously not! So the very veracity of Jesus’ sermon on preparing for his return (the Olivet Discourse) is at stake.
Defense of the genuineness of Daniel
In the third century AD, Porphyry was the first to allege that Daniel was a forgery and a simple recounting of history, not prophecy. This was not the position of the Church at that time, and Jerome wrote a scathing rebuttal to Porphyry.
In the Seventeenth Century, the Higher Criticism movement, quoted Porphyry, and again asserted that Daniel was not a sixth century BC work. Defense of Daniel’s sixth century origin are:
- References to the historic Daniel are found in Ezekiel (14:4,20; 28:3).
- Daniel was discovered in the Qumran scrolls which are thought to have been copies made during the Maccabean period. Thus the original Daniel must have predated this period.[ii]
- Textual vocabulary tends to favor a sixth century BC authorship.[iii]
For the Christian, there can be no doubt about the genuineness of Daniel. References to it by Jesus and in Revelation clearly demonstrate that there can be no argument. Daniel was a real prophet and he wrote the book at the time of the exile to Babylon.
In the next post we’ll look at potential future fulfillments of this great prophecy.
[i] “Daniel 11 – Prophecy Fulfilled,” Bryan Huie, Here a Little, There a Little, last revised Jan. 2, 2012, accessed Jan. 24, 2015 , http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Daniel11
[ii] R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), 1,118
[iii] Robert Dick Wilson, “The Book of Daniel”, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 2, James Orr. Ed (Chicago: Howard-Severence, 1930), 785.